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Past Shows

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House Sparrows' Dance

In 1559, Duke August of Saxony ordered that the House Sparrows of Dresden be excommunicated. The birds were slipping into Holy Cross Church, where they interrupted the sermon with exuberant chirping and “endless unchaste behavior” before the altar. Now their manic chirping and courtship displays... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, history

American Robin Babies Afoot

After hatching, baby robins spend up to 15 days in the nest. By July, many young American Robins have left the nest, or fledged. But they aren't ready to make it entirely on their own yet, and they follow their parents around, learning to fend for themselves. Outside of the breeding season,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Barn Owls Let You Know

The structure and delicate softness of its feathers allow a Barn Owl to approach its prey almost without sound. The Barn Owl's ability to locate prey by sound, even when concealed by snow or leaves, is the most precise of any animal yet tested. This young Barn Owlet is about five weeks old and... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  vocalization

Tony Angell on the Raven

Tony Angell reflects: "It's a cloudless summer day as I listen to ravens behind me in the woods. There's an endless repertoire of croaks, krawks, barks, yelps, and yodels. Other ravens across the bay respond in kind, and I imagine that this is a day of poetry and perhaps a few jokes shared... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  reflection

The Female Oriole Weaves a Nest

Not only are most orioles eye-catching, but they also rank among the world's most accomplished nest-builders. Female orioles — like the Baltimore Oriole seen here — weave nests that hang like pendants. You can spot these hanging nests most easily when the trees have lost their leaves. The female... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Wimbledon Raptors - And Pigeons

Wimbledon is legendary: the verdant green of the courts, the throngs of fans in sun hats, sightings of royalty ... and lots of pigeons. Since the tennis tournament at the All England Club began in 1877, pigeons nested in the stands and generally made a mess of things. Today, though, very few... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction

Northern Goshawks and Fire

Among the great firs and Ponderosa pines of Stanislaus National Forest in central California, Northern Goshawk nestlings crowd a platform nest of branches and pine needles halfway up a mature fir tree. In 2013, what’s known as the Rim Fire occurred, and some of the area burned with high intensity... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  ecology, nesting

Manakins Make Their Own Fireworks

The White-bearded Manakin lives in Trinidad and throughout much of South America. The males court females by snapping their wings with firecracker-like pops. A flurry of males flits rapidly back and forth from one slender, bare sapling to another, a foot above the ground. When the male spots the... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  breeding display, sound

Wilson's Phalarope

If any bird is an anomaly, it's the Wilson's Phalarope. In a birdbook, Wilson's Phalaropes are found among the sandpipers. But they forage while swimming. Spinning like tops, they create an upwelling, pulling food to the surface. The breeding of Wilson's Phalaropes is anomalous, too. Females are... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  breeding display, migration

Steller's Birds

In July, 1741, Georg Wilhelm Steller set foot on land later known as Alaska, the first European to do so. Steller was a German naturalist on the St. Peter, a Russian ship exploring the Bering Sea. He was shipwrecked on Bering Island for over a year, and later wrote a book about the creatures that... read more »

RELATED
Topics & Themes:  history
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